I got a DVD from one of the Kickstarter projects I backed, a short film called “Goodnight Jane” written and directed by Kansas filmmaker Misti Boland. It was so nicely done I had to talk to Boland about some of the tricks she used to pull it off. We spoke via email.
Making the Movie: This short gave me the creeps. For those who don’t know, can you explain what it’s about?
Misti Boland: “Goodnight Jane” is a short film that starts with two eight-year-olds at a slumber party and ends like a Hitchcockian thriller. I first got the idea for “Goodnight Jane” a few years ago while writing several short film scripts in my downtown Lawrence, Kansas apartment.
Tell me about the shoot.
“Goodnight Jane” was a one day shoot. We shot on the RED ONE MX camera, using Zeiss Super Speed prime lenses. The sound was recorded with a Sound Devices 702T. All the lighting equipment was provided by the Lawrence-based company TAG Lighting and Grip.
And what about post-production?
It was edited with Final Cut Pro and the post sound was done in Pro Tools.
The production design is great — I’m thinking of that old piano and other little details on the set. Can you talk a little bit about that?
I really wanted to capture an idyllic children’s scene with touches of old Hollywood. Our production designer, Sally Sinn, and prop master, Jerry Koukol, did a fantastic job pulling all these elements together from the musical ballerina with the broken hand, the glass jar of marbles, the beautiful vintage toy piano, to the costume design of Traci Feuerbach and creative choices of our key hair and make up stylist, Emilie Newell.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during shooting?
We did extensive pre-production and rehearsals prior to shooting. During the shoot, our talented assistant director, Emily Herold, kept us ahead of schedule. We had a fun and smooth shoot and didn’t change anything at the last minute.
This is truly a short short. It left me wanting more. Was it always this short or did you cut out parts that had been scripted or shot? Are there plans to explore this character in a longer movie?
I really enjoy reading short stories and decided to make a collection of short films. “Goodnight Jane” is intended to be a part of this collection and there are not plans to explore this character in a larger movie.
Another thing I loved was the sound design. Can you talk about working with sound designer Chris Blunk and composer Sara Huslig?
Sound designer Chris Blunk and composer Sara Huslig are both extremely talented and it was an amazing experience to work with them. It was exciting to hear their attention to detail and creative choices. Sara had the idea to create a musical theme for Emily’s character and to have our actress, Alexis Michelle Bartkoski, hum the theme over the end credits, which adds a layer of spookiness to the film.
What was the budget for the film? Talk about using Kickstarter to raise funds.
Most of our budget for the film was self-financed and we only used Kickstarter to help cover part of our art and catering costs.
What is next for you as a filmmaker? Any other projects in the works?
In April I’m directing a short drama called, “Picture A Girl With Red Hair,” written by Eric Caughey.
What advice to you have for filmmakers who are just starting out?
I would advise beginning filmmakers to write or find a good script. Then be as creative as you can be putting together a crew, equipment, cast, have fun and make a movie! With each project you will learn things to improve your next film.